It takes a special kid to get excited about engineering.
Even if their hearts cry out for angles and gears, their peers often call out "nerd" and "geek," and the thrill dies.
For Pete's sake, enough with the belief that any kid interested in math or science is a nerd or geek. It's just pathetic and by writing these same old tired beliefs, journalists keep them alive.
For all the mohawks and plastic gladiator caps, there was learning going on at Seattle's FIRST Robotics Competition. It is the event's second year in Seattle, after one year in Tacoma.
FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) is a New Hampshire nonprofit that organizes techie competitions to encourage kids to major in engineering and other sciences.
The robotics competition entry fee is $6,000 and includes basic parts for a robot. Teams line up their own corporate sponsors and throw fundraisers.
Many teams spend considerably more spiffing up their machines and promoting themselves with T-shirts, Web sites and other gewgaws. Selling their product is part of the competition, just like in the business world.
Boeing project engineer Darin Gee laments that schools do not financially back the program like they do football, baseball and basketball — endeavors few students will do professionally.
I thought that last line was interesting because over in Bellevue at their budget forums, the district laid out losing wrestling, swimming and tennis but what about the biggest cost football? (Yes, I know boosters pay for a lot but it is not cost-free.) Maybe we should encourage kids to be interested in activities that add to what they are learning. (Not discounting arts or sports but kids are in school for academics.)
This from the comments:
On the other side of the Sound, 342 students showed off their science and engineering projects in Bremerton Friday & Saturday at the Washington State Science and Engineering Fair.